COLUMBUS, Ohio — Eleven states require more than a simple majority to approve a constitutional amendment. Ohio could become the 12th.
On August 8, Ohio voters will decide Issue 1, a state constitutional amendment that would establish a 60% vote requirement to approve future state constitutional amendments. If approved, Ohio would become the 12th state to require more than a simple majority to approve a constitutional amendment.
Some states set higher vote thresholds to approve ballot measures on specific topics. In Arizona, for example, any ballot measure to approve a tax requires 60% of voters to vote in favor of the measure. Washington requires 60% of all voters casting a ballot to approve initiatives or referendums related to lotteries. Utah, meanwhile, requires a two-thirds (66.67%) vote to approve any initiatives concerning hunting.
Constitutional amendments require voter approval in 49 out of 50 states. Only Delaware does not.
Thirty-eight states, including Ohio, require a simple majority to approve a constitutional amendment.
Additionally, Oregon requires that a ballot measure proposing a supermajority vote on ballot measures be passed by the same vote threshold, such as 60%, as the measure proposes.
If approved, Issue 1 would make Ohio the 12th state to require more than a simple majority of voters to approve constitutional amendments.
Issue 1 would also make Ohio tie with Florida as the state with the highest voter approval requirement (60%) to pass citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. The ballot initiative process allows citizens to propose measures and collect signatures to place their proposals on the ballot. Twenty-six states allow citizen initiatives. Eighteen of those states, including Ohio, allow for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.
New Hampshire, which has the highest voter approval requirement overall for constitutional amendments, doesn’t allow citizen-initiated constitutional amendments. The state allows legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, which state legislators refer to the ballot for voters to decide.
All states but Delaware provide for legislative-referred constitutional amendments. In 33 states, legislatively-referred constitutional amendments require a supermajority in one or both state legislative chambers to be placed on the ballot.
In Ohio, a 60 percent vote in each legislative chamber during one legislative session is required to refer a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to the ballot. That amounts to a minimum of 60 votes in the Ohio House of Representatives and 20 votes in the Ohio Senate, assuming no vacancies.
Issue 1—a legislatively referred constitutional amendment—passed 62-37 in the House and 26-7 in the Senate. Sixty-two House Republicans supported the amendment, and five opposed it. While all Senate Republicans backed the proposal, all House and Senate Democrats voted against it.
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